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i56             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
note these facts. Muhammed, Moses, Jesus and Buddha were truly all-inspired Ambassadors of God, but Muhammed's marked difference from most Oriental prophets was that he opposed the tendency to withdraw from the social and public duties of life which usually accompanies extreme religious devotion; he made it clear that monks and monasteries were undesirable in Islam; and he extended no approval to monkish doctrines involving the death of human affections.
It is a matter of regret that so little is known of the Islamic faith by the average Westerner; even that little is usually partly erroneous, if not wholly incorrect.
Muhammed taught men not to be ashamed to kneel and worship this Invisible King, to go down on their knees in the open street.
It is time we got rid of some of these misconceptions of this great man, Muhammed, and of his great religion, Islam, which becloud our minds. It is time that we understood why the magic of his name is such that millions, comprising nearly one-seventh of the human race, from the western shores of Africa to the eastern shores of China, call down daily blessings upon him. It is time we recognized the reality of the fervour of these men, the Muslims, and why the quickly uttered "Allah" of European pronunciation is a pitiful caricature of the fervent, long-drawn, heartfelt, two-syllabled "Al—lah" of the Oriental; who devoutly prolongs the second syllable.
Night had opened her eyes, twinkling with thousands of starry jewels as her adornment, when I stood again in the street outside El Azhar, gazing absent-mindedly at nothing in particular. The crescent moon shone through a mist surrounded by indigo-blue sky. Then, the strong tenor voice of the mosques' Muezzin rang out upon the air, resonantly proclaiming, from his high turret, the oneness of God,
Now throughout this city of carved gateways, fretted geometrical arches and tiled courtyards, watched over by Allah and His Angels, men were falling on their knees, with faces turned towards Mecca and repeating those simple words: "GOD is MOST GREAT!"